Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursday, November 19

Today was a long day.  Bill had a rough night last night and was having difficulty breathing.  They took a chest x-ray and determined that he had a collapsed lung (although, the description I received made it sound more like it was dented) but it was something else to be concerned about.  This was not a result of the initial accident he had, but rather something that developed in a weak spot on his lung from the constant positive pressure exerted by the ventilator.  He had a chest tube inserted this morning to relieve the pressure and allow his lung to fully inflate.  I was told to think of this as a step sideways, not necessarily back.  It was still discouraging given all the progress he made yesterday.  Because of the "dented" lung, he had several CT scans done today to make sure that there were not any other issues with his lungs and those all came back clear.  Tonight's nurse described it to me basically this way: my brain is able to send a message to my lungs telling them to inhale and my lungs receive the message almost instantaneously.  Because of the nature of the injury to Bill's spinal cord, the message his brain sends is taking some time to get to his lungs and might be a bit garbled.  This is not uncommon in this set of circumstances, nor is it necessarily permanent.  They bumped all his ventilator settings back up (O2 tonight was 95% and the machine was doing most of the work).  He also had physical therapy today as well as an MRI.  All the scans and other activity were enough exertion to warrant bumping the ventilator settings back up.  Depending on how he does tonight, tomorrow they may start turning things down.  No way to know until tomorrow.  In brighter news, he is taking food better today.  He's always had a sensitive stomach and had been having trouble with whatever goo they've been putting in his feeding tube but today it appears that things are moving along, if you get my drift.  I suspect that he will be mad at me for sharing that little tidbit, but I am very much looking forward to the day he tells me to get out of his business.

I do not know the results of the MRI yet but should find out tomorrow.  We are also going to schedule a consultation with a neurosurgeon to discuss Bill's initial injury and the surgery he received Monday night.  The only reason for doing this is that we are confused.  I may have misspoken when I told you that 4, 5, and 6 were all broken.   It doesn't really matter much, but I want to be sure that I am passing on the correct information.  The thing that we know for certain is that the spinal cord was not severed.  No guarantee that he will walk again, but it makes it a possibility.  Does anyone have some spare patience they can lend me? 

For those of you that wish to visit I will ask you to wait a little longer.  He is still sedated and not waking up much.  The folks here feel that having people come see him isn't helping him much and is exposing him to more germs and the last thing he needs right now is a cold.  His recovery is going to be long and he will need much support in the weeks and months to come.  I know it's frustrating, but it would be better if we wait a bit.

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